Typinator Part 4 - Basic Abbreviations

Typinator is all about abbreviations. That’s what it does and why it has proved to be such a valuable tool for anyone that deals with a lot of text entry on their machines. I guess it’s about time we started playing about with some of these abbreviations now and go through how to create them. 

We’ve already covered how to create an abbreviation set. Simply click the ‘+’ button below the existing sets. The same really applies to abbreviations. To create one, highlight the set with which you wish the new abbreviation to belong and you will see, in the right hand window, all of the abbreviations that are already members of the set. Click the ‘+’ button below. 


As you can see, you are warned straight away that you cannot have an empty abbreviation. Well, I think you may kind of know that already! Of course you can’t have a blank abbreviation! Type in the abbreviation that you wish to use in that box. Next, there is a drop down box that lets you choose the type of expansion you are going to use. It can be either:

  • Plain Text
  • Formatted Text
  • Picture
  • HTML

Plain Text - This will simply output the expansion in it’s most base format, that of plain text. There will be no formatting or scripting, simple plain text. 

Formatted Text - Much like Rich Text, Formatted Text will carry across any formatting options that you elect to have in your expansions. This is very useful for expansions that you wish to create that need to have different font attributes like style, colour, size etc. One good example for me is Email Signatures. 

Picture - It is so handy being able to use a keyboard shortcut to automatically generate an image file yet that is what I am able to do with Typinator. Simply drag and drop an image file form the Finder window into the Expansion box and the next time you type the abbreviation into an application that is able to show images (don’t try this in TextEdit and wonder why it doesn’t work!) you will have your image file ready and wiating for you to position and manipulate. Nice. 

HTML - Being able to use a text expansion tool for outputting repetitive strings of HTML code is essential for today’s busy coder so they have been thought of by Ergonis as well with their own expansion section


Abbreviations can be created via the use of keyboard shortcuts as well. In the Preferences window we discussed in an earlier post, there were two configurable shortcuts for ‘Create new item from Selection’ and ‘Create new item from Clipboard’. 

Create new item from Selection

This is a superb shortcut and one I use quite frequently. If you type out some text in any application, simply highlight it and invoke your shortcut. You will be presented with the following window - minus my awful text of course. 


You will notice that in the above screenshot, only the Boilerplate option is available for configuration with the text selected. This is because there is such a large amount of text copied, it is not possible for the selection to be available as an AutoCorrect expansion. To demonstrate this point, lets copy just one word this time. 


Now as you can see from this image, it defaults to the AutoCorrection option and shows you the original word you typed. If you click on the Suggestions drop down, there is one suggestion available - which is the correct spelling, awesome. Select this to be the correction, and the content of the Correction box will change. You can change the set it will be added to by modifying the selection in the Add to Set drop down box and then click Add to complete. 

Create new item from Clipboard

This shortcut essentially performs the same actions as the ‘Create new item from Selection’ one, however instead of taking the content from a direct selection, it is retrieved from the last entry on your clipboard - be this a word, sentence, paragraph, passage or image file. 

This covers the basic abbreviations. In the next post, we will be looking at some of the more advanced features that Typinator can offer you.